Hundreds of British food and drink firms are set to benefit from a new exports action plan that aims to deliver a £500 million boost to the UK economy.
The Food and Drink International Action Plan will be delivered by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), as part of the government’s overall ambition to get 100,000 more UK companies exporting.
Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector with a turnover of more than £90 billion and employing around 400,000 people.
But among small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector, only ten per cent currently export, primarily to close European neighbours.
The plan, which UKTI expects to benefit 1,000 businesses, was launched by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson on 6 October at Anuga, the world’s leading food and drink trade fair, held in Cologne, Germany.
At the same time, food was officially launched as a key part of the GREAT marketing campaign, which showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to do business with, visit and study in the UK.
Mr Paterson said: “There are huge opportunities for British food companies to export all over the world and I’m determined to help our firms exploit them.”
Lord Green, Trade and Investment Minister, added: “Demand for British food and drink products overseas is growing fast. A 15 per cent increase in overseas sales in the last two years is a clear sign of the opportunities available to the British food and drink manufacturers working in this sector.”
The Food and Drink International Action Plan support will include:
- creating one team across government and industry to drive forward action to increase exports
- a single strong UK brand identity to raise awareness of UK food and drink at major food events and exhibitions worldwide
- more support and advice on exporting, with easy access points for UK firms
- faster export certification process for animals and animal products
- ongoing work to lift trade barriers, promote trade and maintain access to markets already opened.
The plan also sets out specific support for the dairy industry; beer, cider, wine and spirits exports; meat and seafood industries; and UK food brands.